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Keeping the Fun in Fitness

Stretching never looked that good!
Stretching never looked that good! (Photo credit: deleted.scenes)

Today was the day I made the effort to reconcile with my friend the gym.

It’s been a while. Since I took to outdoor running and paddling, the stale air of indoors hasn’t held the same appeal.

After having a rotator cuff tear in two places, be repaired and torn again, it was with a heavy heart that I made the decision to  abandon ship (my dragon boat team), and get back to the gym.

As much as I will miss being on the water with a great team of women, I know that my shoulder is done. Shot. Finito. Caput.

So, it is with sadness that I leave the river and go back to the gym. Back with gratitude too though, because it’s within walking distance, and I love it.

Combined with my yoga in an oak and stained glass sanctuary, and my running on the trails by the lake, I think it will all balance itself out, and my little, worn out soul will be happy.

Besides the stale air, the gym is also a festering pool of  dodgy material to write about. Writers are always observing. Perhaps we all have a slightly perverse voyeuristic bent, but that’s kinda sexy. Right?

As my torn tendon screamed in pain, I ignored it and focussed instead on some of the general truisms about gym life. I bundled them all up in my teeny, tiny girl brain, and brought them home to share with you;

1) The men who like to have their women covered head to toe in the name of religion, are the first ones to settle into a cardio spot with an excellent sight line to the women’s fitness room. The gym is a haven for sexual hypocrites and perverts.

2) The older you get the less you care about your panties showing above your yoga pants. You just hope you don’t toot or actually shit yourself.

3) Men in spandex all look less than attractive. Unless you’re Channing Tatum or some such masculine delight, wear  something else. Please.

4) Fill-in instructors all have full-timer envy, and make it their mission to push you to that psychological breaking  point where you fantasize about giving them a thong wedgie and a slap.

5) Where there is cinder block, there is sweat and bacteria. I’ve never stretched against a gym wall that wasn’t appallingly moist.

6)  Someone will always hog the piece of cardio equipment you were hoping for. (That’s why I do my running outside.)

7) Gym yoga will always be the cheap, trashy version of the real thing.

8) When you least feel like going, you get the best work-out. Some deep breathing and sweat make you feel alive, and tickle your smile out where everyone can see it.

9) Gym water fountains. Ew. Just ew.

10) Squash courts have always been, and will always be THE very best place to pick up quality men. Trust me on this one ladies.

11) Any class description that includes the word ‘Bootcamp’ makes you want to die, but is totally worth it…in a week or so when you can walk again.

12) Open showers. A good indication that your gym needs a reno.  Shower at home – see number one.

***If you don’t hear from me for a while, it’s because my right arm mercifully fell off.***

Creative Writing · Entertainment · Girl Stuff · Health · Life · Men's Issues · Relationships · Singles · Uncategorized · Women's Issues · Writing

Screw You – I’m Running!

During my run the past two days, I’ve had some great tunes bring a smile to my face, and I want to share them with you.

Below is a list of  my favourites that shuffle on my  playlist, and below the list is a brief summary of  why I run. I hope you enjoy the tunes, and share your running songs and stories with us!

ANDSHELAUGH’s SUN RUNNING PLAYLIST

1) Don’t Worry Baby – Beach Boys

2) And Be Loved – Damian Marley

3) Bad as Me – Tom Waitts

4)Bittersweetheart – Soul Asylum

5) You Never Can Tell – Chuck Berry

6) Cry to Me – Solomon Burke

7) Who are you When I’m Not Looking – Blake Shelton

8)Raise the Veil – Lily Frost

9) Edge of Desire – John Mayer

10) New York City’s Killing Me – Ray Lamontagne

11)Into the Mystic – Van Morrison

12) Happy – Leona Lewis

13) You Make My Pants Want to Get Up and Dance – Dr. Hook

14) Crazy Train – Ozzy Osbourne

15)Queen of Denmark – Sinead O’Connor

16)You Can’t Fail Me Now – Bonnie Raitt

17)Heart of Mine – Blake Mills and Danielle Haim

18) I Second that Emotion – Smokey Robinson

19)If I Needed You – Townes Van Zandt

20) Mrs. Steven Rudy – Mark McGuinn

An aside about the YouTube links – I get a kick out of some of the videos, Smokey’s voice has improved with age, Bonnie is WAY better live, and you get the best of Van the Man on a recording. I hope you enjoyed a peek into my playlist.

A few of the zillion reasons why I run;

I started running last year. I started running last year when I could no longer run from a bad relationship. I also started dragon boating. Dragon boating and running. Better than crying, better than letting a critical, spirit-miser suck the life out of me, and way, way better than incarceration.

I remember saying to my very dear mumster, “If I don’t get myself focussed on something positive, this relationship is going to kill me.” It  did nearly kill me getting out of someone else’s sticky web of passive aggressiveness and misery. Yes, yet again, even at this age, I re-learned the lesson – you can’t make someone else happy if they aren’t happy themself.    So, I ran. I ran and paddled and ran some more. After a little while in my own head without someone criticizing my every move I realized something. I am pretty happy.

 There is a saying by George Sheehan that I keep on my desk on my refrigerator door; “For every runner who tours the world running marathons, there are thousands who run to hear the leaves and listen to the rain, and look to the day when it is suddenly as easy as a bird in flight.” That quote describes me pretty well.

Today, despite the temperature being well above thirty degrees (that’s celsius for my readers in the U.S.A.), and a humidex pushing temperatures higher, my run today felt easier than it has in a long time – not quite like a bird in flight, but a not-so-out-of-breath-bird. As I ran the shadiest route I could find, that Sheehan quote came to mind and I smiled. I am stronger than I was a year ago.

I have read Haruki Murakami’s What I Write About When I Write About Running, Sakyong Mipham’s Running with the Mind of Mediation, and Larry Shapiro’s Zen and the Art of Runing. I have a strong mind, and am committed to my continuing Buddhist practice.  Murakami’s line, something about pain being inevitable but suffering being optional, hooked me into running as a form of meditation – not just strengthening my body, but also understanding my mind. 

My dragon boating has benefited this year from my increased mental and physical stamina.  I’m still chubby, I still have a love hate relationship with food, BUT…..I’m more aware than ever that I have a strong, healthy body, and a strong, healthy mind. 

It took forgetting those things to remember. It took forgetting those things to hit rock bottom. It took allowing someone else to treat me poorly to remember. I remember, and now, I will never forget.

This is not a piece intended to guilt you into moving your body. This is not a piece intended to make you do anything at all. I’m just sharing my story with you and hoping it resonates with someone out there and makes a difference. I’m not an athlete by any means, but I started running last summer, and it’s been the cheapest, most effective, life affirming therapy ever.